Amanda Reckonwith Interview

“We caught up with Amanda Reckonwith between rehearsals, and sat down with her for an interview. The interview below was transcribed from that initial recording, (and initially published without permission) by our intern… who has since been fired.“

Who is Amanda Reckonwith?  She was once a lyric soprano who graced famous Broadway, concert and opera stages all around the world.  She settled down to have some children and now that they’re finding their own way in the world and she’s back to entertain the masses.  She is now known to the world as her generations’ most famous “Spento” soprano.   She does transcendent versions of the songs of Broadway, The Great American Songbook and other popular favorites.

Amanda Reckonwith is having quite a whirlwind of a comeback.  Her triumphant return to the stage took place in a New York City hot spot called Pangea in February of 2023.  The crowd was completely sold out and they were squeezing furniture and people in like they were filling up an Amazon delivery truck at Christmas time. I was there to witness this charming chanteuse in action.  I ended up in the lap of the person in the booth next to me.  Oh, I had plenty of room, I was just being friendly.  Now I’m banned for life from Pangea!   After bringing down the house in New York, Puerta Vallarta said ven aqui to Amanda.  She’s confused enough in English so when they spoke to her in Spanish she landed in Hueso de Puerco (Pork Bone) Mexico.  She called a Mexican Uber and Pedro came to the rescue. Pedro is a burrow.  After a long and harrowing journey on a pongy pack animal, Amanda made it to Incanto where she did a resplendent residency in February and March.  God save the king!  This double trouble diva is getting on a double decker bus and heading to London in April.  Then it’s back to the Big Apple in April.  New York City loves Amanda Reckonwith and she’s been given a residency at Pangea.  You can hear the voice that makes angels weep and hear the too good to be true stories every third Saturday of the month from April through December 2023.

 When I spoke with Amanda, I began to notice that some of the details she was remembering were slightly murky.  Maybe the shadowy hard knock life she lived for the past 20 years jostled a few brain cells around.  I didn’t have the heart to tell her that Liberace died in 1987.  It says so on Wikipedia so it must be true.  I don’t know who she was with last June and frankly, I think we’re all better off not knowing considering the cartel connection.  You know what they say, ignorance is bliss.  Buckle up buttercups!  I give you Amanda Reckonwith!

“Darlings, I am delighted to be here. Frankly, after the last 20 years I’ve had, I’m delighted to be anywhere!” 

“You know, I really owe all of this to my dear friend Lee Liberace! When I was first starting my career as a young lyric soprano in the opera, Liberace had me on his television program many many times. In fact, I hold the record for the most appearances by a singer on a single television program, 77 times! He introduced me to the world, really. And now, he’s done it once again!”

“It was just last June that Lee came to visit me at the hospit… vacation resort where I was staying, and before I knew it. We were surreptitiously whisking away in his getaway car… I mean Cadillac. We drove for days until finally, we made it… across the border, to Mexico, where we performed a series of shows at a wonderful theater, called Incanto Vallarta!” 

“And now that we’ve paid off… I mean…  cleared my name in that awful matter of my last husband (notorious Colombian drug lord, Jamie Ferdinand Castro) I am once again free to perform in the United States, and it’s been thrilling to be back on stage here in New York, home of so many of my former triumphs.”

“The warmth of the spotlight is like mother’s milk to me. It feels so wonderful to be back, almost like I never left. Luckily, I don’t remember much of the last 20 years, so I can pick up right where I left off, centerstage, singing my favorite songs and arias.”

I can tell you firsthand that the audiences were hanging on Amanda’s every word and note.  She was met with thunderous applause and a raucous standing ovation.  If anyone is deserving of a Mac award it’s Amanda Reckonwith.  Maybe she was wearing Bob Mackie?  “The audiences have been remarkable. A standing ovation every night! It’s such an unexpected honor. And, I have even been nominated for an award, called the “Bob Mackie”… I mean “MAC AWARD”, as major artist of the year! Can you believe it? And I’m just delighted to be at pancetta, uh… Pangea! It’s delicious! Well, both of them are, really!”

Amanda is a born entertainer, and it doesn’t matter to her if the venue seats 100 or 1000.  “Well, Pancetta is not really an arena. It’s a small intimate space rather like one’s living room. I call it the “Café Carlyle” of the lower Eastside. After one has played all of the great opera, houses and concert halls around the world. It’s so nice to be in the midst of this intimate ambience with the audience sitting so close you can smell their breath. It’s so charming, really. I keep breath mints in my pocket at all times. Would you like one?”

When singing operatic roles, Amanda did a diligent deep dive into the lives of the composers and the roles.  “My creative process? Well, these days it is much different. There was a time when picking my roles in opera was such a complicated process. I would torture myself over questions like “Is this role truly appropriate for me at my voice?” “Should I go and visit the birthplace of the composer?” And of course I would read all of the biographies of each composer, and the source material or folklore of the subject matter, Orfeo, Midsummer Night’s Dream, Miss Saigon… I mean, Madama Butterfly. But in the end really, as Stephen Sondheim once said, “generally, it’s the contract” that mattered.”

“But now, this new “pop” repertoire requires so much in-depth research. It’s like I’m in school again. After spending so much time in the world of a grand opera, It’s so much fun learning about this new “Great American Songbook,” and the new composers like Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, and one of my new favorites, Noelle Coward. What a wonderful writer she is! So witty. And of course, my dear music director, Marco Carouomo is always at the helm, guiding me along the way.” 

We asked Amanda about what obstacles she faces these days.  “Well, I don’t much care for stairs. I mean really, that’s what elevators were invented for. I live by the first rule of the diva, “never stand when you can sit, and never sit when you can lie down.”

Maybe Amanda needs to brush up on some updated terminology for political correctness purposes.  “Truth be told, I’m a little bit behind the times with all of the newfangled way of being. Did you know that it’s no longer appropriate to say the word “gypsy“anymore? You better be careful. You might not even want to write it down. I don’t understand what’s happening in the world right now, but I’m trying. I’m not your “run-of-the-mill“opera diva. I’m hip! And by that I mean… I have a new hip! I did that in Mexico as well.”

We wondered what this dynamic diva will be up to next.  “Well, I suppose when I go back to Mexico, I’ll have a little nip and tuck. One can never look too young. Oh!… you mean in life, in general… What a wonderful question. Thank you so much.”

  “Well, Maestro Carouomo and I are starting our performances at Pancetta on April 15. We will be there on the third Saturday of every month this year. And in between we’re traveling to some glorious places. On April 17, we whisk away to London for two performances at the end of the week. And then in May we’re off to Chicago, Illinois. And the summer is filled with performances in places, like Provincetown, Fire Island, Palm Springs, and various cruise lines. And, of course we’ll return to Mexico next season sometime between January to April.”

“I’m just so thrilled with this renaissance of singing at this point in my life. It’s a blessing every day and I’m so happy for all of you.”

“Thank you so much for having me.”

Amanda’s new hip will be serving her well as she galivants around the globe hitting the high notes and regaling eager audiences with salacious and witty tales of the life of an entertainment icon.

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